James Bond On A Bad Day

Incompetence (Rob Grant, 2003) is a comedy noir-esque novel. The author is best known for his work as one half of Grant Naylor, the writers of Red Dwarf. Set in the near future where United States of Europe Article 13199 has banned basing hiring and firing practices on a person’s competence level, Harry Salt — deep undercover agent for an British/European intelligence agency — has to unravel the mysterious death of fellow cell member Klingferm, committed by the anonymous and dangerous Jack Appleseed. Continue reading

The Skybreak Spatterlight

On The Road Again
(The Skybreak Spatterlight)

The Skybreak Spatterlight (aka. Cugel’s Saga, Jack Vance, 1983) is the second book in the Cugel duology, and third novel in the The Dying Earth series, once again following the rogue Cugel across fantasy wastelands in a world where the sun threatens to extinguish at any moment. Given the book’s nature as a sequel, spoilers for the previous novel will follow, as well as light spoilers for the opening chapters. Continue reading

The Eyes Of The Overworld

Heroics Are Overrated
(The Eyes of the Overworld)

The Eyes of the Overworld (aka. Cugel the Clever, Jack Vance, 1966) is the second novel in the The Dying Earth series. It follows the (mis)adventures of the rogue Cugel, on his journey across the world back to his home in Almery after banishment by the Laughing Mage, Iucounu, brought upon by Cugel’s attempted burglary of Iucounu’s manse. Charged with retrieving the Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel is flown to distant, unfamiliar lands with only his wits and a magical sustenance-providing amulet to aid him. Continue reading

The Dying Earth

Old Wizards Are Awesome
(The Dying Earth)

The Dying Earth (Jack Vance, 1950) is a novel about, er, the dying Earth. Well, not quite. It’s a high fantasy novel full of magic, wizards, and grimness. The novel is set upon the dying Earth, so called due to a prematurely red sun, which threatens to exhaust and die. In reality, a red sun would mean the sun’s expansion and the heat death of the planet. But let’s not throw science at a novel which features magical teleportation, nine foot tall naked humanoid mounts, and wizards. Continue reading